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Plot: A group of reporters who are trying to decipher the last word ever spoke by Charles Foster Kane, the millionaire newspaper tycoon: "Rosebud." The film begins with a news reel detailing Kane's life for the masses, and then from there, we are shown flashbacks from Kane's life. As the reporters investigate further, the viewers see a display of a fascinating man's rise to fame, and how he eventually fell off the "top of the world." Runtime: 119 mins Release Date: 04 Sep 1941
Undoubtedly the greatest American film ever created. (by QulkSiLvR)
Citizen Kane, the film, is many things. It is a brilliantly crafted series of flashbacks and remembrances. It is an engaging story of a dynamic man in a dynamic world. It is a remarkable statement for the wide range of time periods that it covers. It is a deceptively simple story centering on perhaps the most meaningful word in all of moviedom. Behind all that, Citizen Kane is the American cinema. There is not a major director today who has not been influenced by the genius Orson Welles put forth in his debut masterpiece. The film centers around a group of reporters investigating the origin <more>
of the dying newspaper tycoon loosely based on William Randolph Hearst , Charles Foster Kane's last word: Rosebud. The movie begins with an unforgettable newsreel montage summarizing the man's life.From there on, the viewer is thrown into a gloriously chaotic world of flashbacks upon flashbacks, in which the viewer slowly learns just about everything about Charles Foster Kane's enthralling life. From his trying childhood to his rise to power to the pinnacle of his success to his marital difficulties to his fall from grace, the story of Charles Foster Kane is presented for the viewer in a way that few other movies can offer: magically. Citizen Kane, undeniably, is THE triumph of the American cinema, and one of the greatest films every created.
why did Citizen Kane create such an impact upon its first release? (by elleglw)
Well as a media student myself , i have come across this question many times in books and during lectures. There are simply 3 reasons the film, which was considered as the "Mona Lisa of all films" , created such a legendary appeal upon release in 1941: 1 This was Orson Welles first cinematic debut , even though he had been a huge star in theater , he was given an opportunity few first time directors were permitted to having. He had full artistic freedom and above all power, to direct , produce, write and even star in his own picture. Therefore the film industry and RKO pictures had <more>
absolutely no influence in the making of the film and were not to know what was happening on set .Of course this was bound to generate a number of problems as businessmen were curious about the nature and plot of the film , which takes us to the second reason the film caused controversy.2 One of the main reasons the film posed contentions was because the main character , Charles Foster Kane Orson Welles , featured a range of similarities with real media mogul and newspaper journalist William Randolph Hurst . Therefore the film was seen as depicting the life , problems and personal relationships of a real person thus fictionalizing his life. Some of the similarities between the two persona's are:KANE: newspaper tycoon , worked for New York Inquirer , known as the Kubla Khan of Xanadu ,married talentless singer Susan Alexander Kane, he was a political aspirant to presidency by campaigning for governor, bought his wife the Municipal Opera House, Financier Thatcher, and threat Getty's. Hurst: yellow journalist , worked for New York Journal, political aspirant to presidency by becoming governor, married acress Marion Davies, bought his wife Cosmopolitan Pictures, financier JP Morgan , and threat Tammany Hall.-differences: Susan Alexander Kane Dorothy Comingdore leaves Kane later in their life however there was no marriage breakdown for Hurst and Marion.3 The last reason and most pivotal of all to why the film was regarded the way it was , was due to its technical and stylistic innovations . The film upon its release was misunderstood and unappreciated by critics as they couldn't comprehend many of its elements and were too concerned with its dark and mysterious nature which is one of Welles's characteristics in his films. The film after all was 20 years ahead of its time and was only regarded as a triumphant success upon its second release after the American Film Noir era in the 1950's. His most prominent artistic inventions were: -the low angled camera movements -extreme facial closeups -long uninterrupted shots -chiaroscuro lighting -overlapping dialogue , giving a realistic effect to conversations -subjective camera angles -deep focus shots and depth of field -flashbacks that make up most of the film All the above and more constitute to why the film is so influential to all would be film directors and for why many people regard it as the best film of all time. Lastly we musnt forget the exceptional score by Bernard Herrmann who had collaborated also with the best known director of all time, Alfred Hitchcock , and made him the chillin sounds of strings in Psycho and Vertigo to name a few . In addition the superb photography of Gregg Toland in regards to Welles's unique eye on details. After all he wanted to put in each shot everything the human eye can see if they were present.There are many areas of the film which are crucial , these are some of the most important , and as you can see there is never too little or too much that you can add to this masterpiece .
A great piece of cinema, a magnificent example of storytelling (by TBJCSKCNRRQTreviews)
I've heard so much told about Citizen Kane and Orson Welles, so I finally decided to get the film, and find out if it really is all that it's cracked up to be... I must say, it's great. The plot is great, and the way it's told is amazing. The story is first summed up in a matter of minutes, about 15, to be more accurate, and then the rest of the film has characters telling the story through flashbacks and retelling. We hear just about every opinion about Charles Foster Kane, apart from his own. The story is told after his death, and we see everything important that leads up to <more>
it, and only in the very end do we understand him, only then do we fully understand who he was, and what made him so. The ending also reveals one of the very most important things in any man or woman... one thing that everyone needs and knows of. I won't reveal it here, as it would almost be a crime to spoil the experience of this film to anyone. The acting is excellent; Welles himself is stellar as Kane, and his impressive appearance, along with his commanding voice, makes the character a forceful sight, nay, experience. The characters are well-written and credible. The character of Kane is probably the most well-rounded and perfectly built up I've seen in a movie, ever. The cinematography is excellent... the editing is great. I can't praise the angles, pans, zooms and transitions enough... it just has to be experienced. Now, for the one thing I can criticize in the film; the pacing. It's only two hours long, but it feels like much, much more. There were portions of the film where it felt like it didn't move at all. When there weren't great dialog or something equally as good in the film, it dragged terribly. There were too many scenes where the dialog seemed pointless, as well, I think. It didn't seem to be leading to anything. However, this criticism is so minor, due to the ending more than making up for it, that I still give this film a perfect score. I can't do anything but agree with its placing at the top of the top #250 films of all time, here on IMDb. As I'm writing this, it's #11. That's pretty much what it deserves, in my opinion. Not higher, not lower. Not the greatest film of all time that pretty much still belongs to The Godfather, I think... at least, I haven't seen a better film than that, yet , but definitely far up there. I recommend this to any fan of film in general, and anyone who thinks they can understand it; it has a truly profound point that any man and woman should know of preferably through seeing the film for themselves . Don't let the fact that it's old and black & white deter you from seeing this masterpiece. A true cinematic masterpiece, in every sense of the word. 10/10
Most important movie ever made (by bartvanbenthem)
Kane "Citizen Kane" 1941 was Orson Welles' film debut, and in it he created an enduring masterpiece that is considered by many to be the greatest movie ever made.Story: Shortly after "Citizen Kane" opens, we see aged newspaper tycoon Charles Foster Kane Welles softly drawl the word "Rosebud" and die. Sensing that there's a story behind Kane's dying word, a magazine editor shows a reporter a newsreel obituary that chronicles how Kane created a business empire, married a U.S. President's niece, ran unsuccessfully for Governor of New York, <more>
divorced his first wife and married a second, collected art, built a fabulous estate called Xanadu, and divorced his second wife. The reporter is then assigned the task of ferreting out the significance of "Rosebud." As the reporter's investigation progresses, fascinating details about Kane emerge.My opinion: Citizen kane is maybe for a lot of people myselve not included not a real entertaining movie, But there is no doubt about it that aws one of the most important movies ever made.The visual style of "Citizen Kane" looks stunningly fresh and inventive even today, and the unconventional narrative structure of the Oscar-winning screenplay still seems daring. Welles' portrayal of a character who gradually ages from 25 to old age is unexcelled, and the movie's supporting cast, most of whom had worked previously with Welles on stage and radio productions, is superb. In short, everything came together in "Citizen Kane" to make it one of the greatest character studies ever captured on film.Citizen kane is also one of my favorites and is listed in my top 5 of all time: 9.5 / 10 Masterpiece !!!
"I don't think any word can explain a man's life" (by ackstasis)
Orson Welles' debut feature 'Citizen Kane' stands as one of the twentieth century's most revered films, and, indeed, the title of "The Greatest Film Of All Time" has often been bestowed upon it, from as early as Sight and Sound's 1962 rankings, when it indefinitely dethroned De Sica's 'Bicycle Thieves 1948 .' After two viewings, I can't say that I find it to be the greatest film of all time, but any work with such a label would find it extremely difficult to live up to impossible expectations. Having said that, however, 'Citizen Kane' is <more>
nothing short of masterful. In 1939, in an unprecedented studio contract, RKO offered young prodigy Welles, fresh from his success on the stage and the radio, a two-picture contract with full artistic control a promise that ultimately wasn't kept . Borrowing elements from the lives of tycoons Robert McCormick, Howard Hughes, and Joseph Pulitzer, but especially American newspaper magnate William Randolph Hearst, Welles and fellow screenwriter Herman J. Mankiewicz weaved together the tragic story of Charles Foster Kane, poignantly highlighting the inescapable shortfalls of American Dream.Charlie Kane Welles rises from humble beginnings to become one of the most famous and powerful people in America. At a very young age, Kane's mother inherits a gold mine and becomes suddenly wealthy, sending away her son to live with Walter Parks Thatcher George Coulouris , his mother's banker. Proving something of a disappointment for Mr. Thatcher, Kane shows little aspirations for success until the age of twenty-six, when he decides to head the 'Inquirer,' for the simple reason that he "thinks it would be fun to run a newspaper." Kane eventually becomes rich and powerful through publishing "yellow journalism," which, though frowned upon by most critics, proves immensely profitable. Decades later, after two unsuccessful marriages and a failed bid for public office, Kane sits alone in his massive, unfinished Xanadu mansion the most massive, impersonal and even sinister abode ever to grace the silver screen , pining for the lost innocence of his childhood. This is the story of a tragic life, and the ultimate testament that money can't buy happiness.The most remarkable thing about 'Citizen Kane' is its narrative structure. The film opens with Kane's death. As the image fades into a large "NO TREPASSING" sign on the gate of Kane's vast and lonely dwelling, we progressively cut to images closer and closer to his house, witnessing the enormity of Kane's wealth, and yet all his riches seem to be in disrepair. A lone lit window stands eerily amidst the snow, before the light inexplicably goes out, the figure hunched within suddenly plunged into darkness. We see Charles Foster Kane's withered hand clasping at a snow-globe, and his lips utter the mystifying words, "Rosebud." With a sudden crash, the snow-globe slips from Kane's hand and shatters on the floor. A maidservant enters the room and covers the dead man's body with a blanket. Following his death, the producer of a newsreel about Kane asks a reporter, Jerry Thompson William Alland , to uncover the significance behind Kane's final words, a well-meaning but rather naive attempt to encapsulate a man's entire life in a simple seven-letter name.A criticism often levelled at 'Citizen Kane' is that it feels less like a warm, involving biopic than a formal masterclass in film-making technique. It's true that Welles was exploring largely unmapped cinematic territory at the time, and there's a certain sense of experimentation about the film. Mankiewicz and Welles constructed the screenplay as a series of fragmented, non-chronological flashbacks, each sequence filling in the missing parts of Kane's life, sometimes even showing the same event from differing perspectives. Greg Toland's elaborate cinematography makes unprecedented use of deep focus, in which everything in the frame foreground, background and anything in between is constantly held in sharp focus; the end result is a film that feels far more dynamic and "animate" than anything preceding the French New Wave. All innovation aside, anybody who suggests that the life of Charles Foster Kane is somehow uninvolving really needs to revisit the film; Welles pours his heart and soul into portraying the arrogant, tormented and ultimately lonely millionaire, and it's uncanny how the director's own tragic career drew clear parallels with that of his most memorable character.
You need to take a film class in order to understand it's greatness (by KungFu-tse)
The first time I rented and watched Citizen Cain, I actually fell asleep. This was shortly after AFI listed it as the #1 movie of all time a few years ago. I didn't understand the movie at all and I certainly didn't understand why it was #1.Now I realize how ignorant I was.Last year, I took a course in college on Film I'm working on being a film director myself . Citizen Cain was a topic that the professor brought to us early in the semester. This would be my second time viewing the movie. But by this time, I had a basic understanding of film history, shots, camera angles, script <more>
writing, etc.You see, you have to understand what movies were like before Citizen Cain, and after. Citizen Cain was a revolutionary movie in terms of edition, camera angles, and story. It was also ahead of its time.Let's start with story. The movie starts with his death. The entire story is told through interviews and flashbacks by everyone who was involved with Cain. Unlike other movies with a linear narrative, this movie required you to think and put all the pieces together.Another big thing was the way light and dark was used. High and low camera angles were used to the extreme. I can't point out every single one but you could ask a film expert point them out.Another big thing was that the movie was pretty much a satire of William Randolph Hearst, the newspaper mogul. I recommend watching the movie "RKO 281" with Liev Schreiber and James Cromwell so you'll know what I'm talking about.Sadly, the movie failed at the box office. It wasn't until years later when critics saw the movie and realized how great it was.So if you saw Citizen Cain and didn't get it, I don't blame you. I didn't get it the first time either. It's largely due to the fact that the movie is so old, so there's a large generation gap. Also, you need to know a bit of film history, what happened during the making of this film, and how this film influenced virtually every film make after.
Love The Cinematography; Story Not That Appealing (by ccthemovieman-1)
Hey, make no mistake: this film does deserve lofty status. It is a good film, fantastically photographed.....but the greatest of all time? I question that, but that kind of question - Who's number one? - is impossible to answer. I would think to be number one you would have to have a great technical film, great story, great acting, great camera-work as this has, AND have it generally loved by the public. Then you have a true number one picture of all time. I'm not a fan of "Gone With The Wind," but that was a technical marvel, too, for its day and was universally loved by <more>
millions of people....so I can see that being listed number over Citizen Kane. The same goes for Casablanca, Ben-Hur and a number of wonderful films.Anway, concerning this movie, I enjoyed it best for the cinematography. Orson Welles, the "genius" behind this film, was ahead of his time with his inventive camera-work. The acting is good and it's interesting to note that this was Welles' first acting role. Yes, he was an amazing talent, behind or in front of the camera. The story is pretty unlikable and, in this day and age would be too boring for most people under 50, sad to say. However, even older, more "mature" folks find this hard to get through sometimes from what I have read.The unlikable part mainly comes from the lead character, "Charles Foster Kane," played by Welles. He is simply a selfish egomaniac. Other unpleasant parts of the story include several scenes with his second wife, in which she berates him in this shrill hysterical voice; the fact there is very little humor in here and the ending is anything but uplifting. For those who find this a confusing story, I suggest giving it another chance. I found this film better the more chances I gave it. It also looks fabulous on the latest special-edition DVD. In summary, it was a great technical achievement but remember professional critics usually have the same mindset and are afraid to be their own person, so don't feel stupid or inadequate if this film doesn't do it for you. You are hardly alone. But, yet, that camera-work has to be seen and appreciated if you really love movies.
On the Criterion Collection DVD of Orson Welles' classic "Citizen Kane" there is an original theatrical trailer where Welles cleverly advertises the film by introducing us to the cast including the chorus girls, whom he refers to as some nice ballyhoo. That pretty much sums up my opinion of the often over analyzed film that always shows up at the top of the list of greatest films ever made. Even though this was the first time I sat down to watch the film as a whole, I knew everything about it from studying it in film class and from the countless number of essays, homages, and <more>
parodies that have come down the pike over the years. It seems impossible now to judge the film against a blank slate, but with great ballyhoo comes great scrutiny.Released in 1941 by RKO as a Mercury Theater Production, "Citizen Kane" is the tale of an influential and shockingly wealthy newspaper tycoon Welles inspired by the life of William Randolph Hearst. The story follows the investigation into the origins of "Rosebud"-the mysterious word Kane utters on his deathbed. Following newsreel footage announcing Kane's death, we are then thrust into a series of flashbacks through interviews with various people who knew Kane that reveal the nature of his character.From a technical standpoint, Welles' film is as innovative and engrossing today as it was yesterday. Every single piece of cinematic trickery, every dissolve, every long tracking shot, every seamless edit, every play with chronology, every special effect is perfect. Welles was audacious and inventive with his art, and it is for these technical aspects that "Citizen Kane" will always stand the test of time.However, the story of "Citizen Kane" remains cold and distant. I didn't instantly connect with the characters and the plot the way I did with other classics from the period like "Casablanca" or "The Third Man" or even more recently, "There Will Be Blood." Often, the supporting players over-act, and the flashbacks are tedious especially the one detailing Kane's second marriage or emotionless like the scene showing Kane's snow covered childhood . There's a certain smug arrogance to the whole production that makes it seem like perhaps Welles was secretly making a comedy. It leaves one wondering how it would've come across had Welles actually been allowed to do a straight up biopic of Hearst.Is it any wonder that so many critics today hail this as THE all time great? Much of today's cinema is geared towards style and technique over substance, and way back in 1941, Welles was the first to author this very modern brand of cinema where the art is not in the story but how it is told and shown to the audience. His "Citizen Kane" is technically rich, layered, and enthralling but narratively vapid. Did I ever really care about Kane or Rosebud? No, but it was fascinating to watch. It's some very nice ballyhoo indeed.
Citizen Kane is undoubtedly a masterpiece for it's time but age has caught up with it a bit. Nevertheless, it is definitely worth seeing and not just for the fact it's a classic, it remains a great movie even next to modern cinema.Wells would hold his own acting wise even today but sadly the rest of the cast wouldn't, and that's the first thing you'll notice. The script is also slightly overdone in the typical old-fashioned way, although it's still good, but the thing that really has stood the test of time is the directing, it's an extremely well photographed <more>
movie.There's some great scenes in Citizen Kane, but there's also some forgettable ones. The film loses some momentum in the second half although it still manages to hold your attention. The ending is goosepimple stuff.To be honest, I was slightly disappointed with Citizen Kane after hearing so many good things, although maybe I should have reminded myself this was made when FDR was still alive, a long time ago in the early days of film. When I think of it that way, I can't give it anything but praise.